You are considered a stepparent when you are married to the biological parent of a child but are not the child’s other biological parent. A lot of people assume that a stepparent obtains immediate parental rights simply by marrying a child’s parents, but this is not the case.
There are several complexities that arise in stepparent adoption proceedings. A stepparent must first find out if he or she meets the Florida law requirements for adopting the child. Florida law allows stepparents to adopt in one of two situations. The first is, of course, consent of both biological parents. The second is termination of the non-custodial parent’s parental rights.
When one parent’s rights are terminated, that parent is usually no longer responsible for child support payments, but will also no longer have the protection of the courts for his or her relationship with the adopted child.
If everyone can agree, the next step in stepchild adoption is to file a petition. The petition must include information regarding the length of time the stepparent has resided with the child or children, the stepparent’s reasons for seeking the adoption, and the stepparent’s relationship to the biological parent. The petition must also include judgments terminating parental rights.
The hiring of a skilled and dedicated attorney is crucial to the success of stepparent adoption and can save you and your family a lot of time and money in the long run by getting it right the first time.